Seeing the world through the lens and beyond – Deborah Owen, Photographer

Archive for the ‘Personal’ Category

Growing and Blooming

Wow!  I cannot believe how much of a turn my life has taken in the photographic world.  I am beginning to make a name for myself and it’s spreading beyond the local Fort Myers area as  I have just reached the Tampa Bay area by recommendation.  My Facebook fan page has exploded and I have a lot of followers on my other social media sites.

I have to take a stand back sometimes to get a grip on how fast things are moving.  For most of my life I have doubted myself and my abilities, and I still do that with my photography too.  I know in my heart that I am good, but sometimes my head gets in the way and I wonder if I’m good enough.   I was called last week about photographing a destination wedding and was supposed to have met the couple on Saturday.  That meeting didn’t take place for whatever reason and I had resigned myself that it may not happen.  I doubted myself,  deep down I wondered if I was good enough.  I had met up with a friend Sunday evening and told him about the meeting not happening and that I was Okay if it didn’t, because  something else would come along.  Our conversation drifted to many different subjects and I really didn’t think much more about the wedding.  I had decided that I was really okay if they didn’t call.  Well to my surprise I received a text message from the groom to be that they wanted to book me for the wedding, I immediately contacted my friend and told him that the wedding was going to happen, he congratulated me and told me he knew I would be getting the job.  I love that I have friends who 100% have my back no matter what.  This knowledge makes me incredibly strong and their belief in me and  gives me the strength to realize I am good enough and I can do whatever I set my mind to.

We should all be cognizant of the fact that the good people in our lives are the ones who stand up for us and cheer us on.  I am incredibly blessed and take none of them for granted.  My one hope is I don’t fall short in that area with them.

I admire the work of many photographers as it gives me creative ideas and keeps my own methods fresh and new.  I follow several on Facebook, and watch their posts to see what they have going on.  I belong to several groups, some promote concert photographers, and some are wildlife related and I am fortunate enough to post to them regularly and I view their work, comparing my work to theirs.  I do realize there isn’t any comparison as photography is an art form and art forms are subjective.  I view the work of others with an open mind without tearing my own work apart.

This I know; I am constantly growing and improving my craft, and every time  I click the shutter my value as a photographer increases.  I also know that I am at my best behind the lens.

Me 2 Me

 

Photography Ended My Depression

I know I have written about how I became a photographer, but not why.  Throughout my life I have owned a camera and I would spend hours with my father in his dark room watching the images appear on the paper.  I never really thought about it back then, but I knew I was pretty good at it even at a young age.  Then life happened and I put down the camera and really didn’t pick one up again until my boys were born, I took quite a few photos of them and of course I took photos of our family vacations.  After getting separated from my husband I once again laid down the camera and stopped taking photos. I was working a lot and If I honestly look back at that time period I was depressed.  I worked, and slept and not much else.  Up until that point I had mostly used a Nikon and Canon SLR film camera with a limited knowledge of digital so I went out and purchased a cheap HP digital camera.  I used it for a week and realized it wasn’t what I wanted so I took it back and traded it in for a Kodak, it was much easier to use and the battery life was really good.  It was exactly what I needed.  I realized to get myself out of the depression I was in I needed to get outdoors and start taking photos again.

I never shared with anyone about my depression, I was embarrassed I wasn’t in control of my emotions.  I know the feeling of wanting to end my life, as I had considered that as a way out, however I had way too much to live for and could not fathom what my children would think.  That $80 camera was my saving grace; my medication in a flash card.

As time elapsed I was able to purchase a DSLR camera, I purchased a Canon EOS XS and learned all I could about using it, I started with wildlife and evolved into working with a radio station taking concert photos, what a wonderful feeling that was to get close up to the stars of my youth.  Exhilarating to say the least!  I was able to purchase studio supplies with backgrounds, lighting and several great lenses. I learned Photoshop and Lightroom and last year I was able to upgrade my camera equipment once again.  I have been privileged to shoot in some awesome venues on the West and East Coast of Florida and I have expanded my work to shooting portraits and weddings as well.  I am building a wonderful business with some great repeat clients and have an incredible following on this blog and on Facebook, Twitter and a couple of other social media sites.

I know this is exactly what I am supposed to be doing with my life.  I’m also thrilled that I get to work with another extremely talented photographer, someone I have known his entire life; my son.  He’s so incredibly talented and I don’t have to worry about him or what he may say or do with the clients, he’s a consummate professional and proud to have him as my wedding photography partner.

With this all being said, I am so sad that so many face depression daily, and some to the point of where they feel there is no way out, I wish everyone who is depressed could rebound as easily as I have, but as we know with the great Robin Williams who was loved, so very talented and seemed to have it all together, yet he was so deep into his sadness that he felt he had no other alternative but to take his own life.  We will never know what he was thinking or how he came to that decision, but I hope we can all learn.  Get help if you need it, don’t feel embarrassed you’re not alone. I was fortunate, my therapist was behind the lens.  Rest in Peace Robin Williams the world will miss you.

2013 02 02_Turner River Road_1904

Life After Six Months

I cannot believe we are already into July!  The year is flying by and so much has taken place in the last six months.  Life changed for the better toward the end of last year, I  eliminated negative influences and cleaned out the friend closet by eliminating those who never had my back or my best interest, chose to be deceitful and blatantly lie; sometimes you have to consider the source, cut your losses, count your blessings and move forward.  I gained so much more than I ever lost as I have been blessed tenfold; so many true friends came forward to show support and have been my cheering squad and biggest fans.  Opportunities opened up that never would have if I had remained where I was, and I am better than ever.  Even with all of the great things happening I still had a difficult time forgiving.  All the right things were done and wonderful opportunities were coming my way, I really needed to forgive one person; myself.  I know this sounds selfish, but I constantly questioned why I had wasted so much time and settled for less than I deserved, and I was beating myself up over decisions or lack of.  I had been wrestling with this concept for several months and in June every time I turned around the word forgiveness was staring me in the face and every time I read or looked at affirmations that word kept creeping in and unsettling me.  Finally through some guidance I realized if I didn’t forgive the only person I was hurting was me.  All I can say about this is……what incredible freedom I have found with the simple act of forgiveness.  Every day I wake up to new opportunities and a heart full of gratitude for what I have been given.

I have posted on Facebook there are times I wake up feeling the greatness of the day and sure enough I will get some huge event or news of something happening that I will be a part of.  This was a reality in May I kept telling everyone I felt as if I was on the edge of something huge and sure enough I was graced with an important event at the Ritz Carlton in Naples, Florida and was able to share that opportunity with another female photographer who has now become a friend through this.

Ritz Carlton sponsored by Intel

Ritz Carlton sponsored by Intel

This past week I have felt it again and sure enough one of the biggest opportunities will be heading my way in February 2015 as I embark on a rock cruise called Shiprocked!  So excited not only am I crossing off another bucket list item by going on a cruise, I will get to photograph rock concerts while cruising!  This will open up a huge world of opportunities for me.  I love events, I love photographing people and I also enjoy photographing the natural world where I spend my free time refreshing my creative juices.

Gator Eyes

Gator Eyes

First and foremost I am human, I make mistakes and I tend to allow my heart to guide me, but I learned a lot about myself in the past six months.  I know  I am a wonderful photographer and I love being creative.  I also have very strong intuitions about things, but don’t always listen and bypass the red flags that are presented.  I have drawn upon past experiences and realize those cautions are often there to protect me.  My faith is stronger than ever; I know I’m loved and appreciated by more friends and family than I can count and a God who loves me unconditionally.  Yes, I lost a few that I thought were friends, but I found they were mere lemmings and quite chameleon.  The world has way too many of those types and I prefer to be authentic and to lay my self out and be real.  Basically what you see is what you get and I like myself way too much to change.

Happiness abounds and I feel it shows through my photography.  The pure joy of simply holding my camera makes every day an adventure I wake up so excited for the day and can’t wait to either post my photos to share or write about my newest adventure.  I know I am walking in the path that was designed specifically for me, and this simple knowledge brings some of the greatest joy I have ever experienced.  Smiling and laughter are a huge part of my life and it shows how wonderful it all can be.  Please join my in my newest adventures and follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and any other social media you can find me on.

I realize this was not entirely about being behind the lens, but yet again, it is; as I am living out my life in front of the camera we call this world.

Freedom and happiness

Freedom and happiness

Remembering My Daddy

Azle E. Marteney  Serial #35625686

Azle E. Marteney
Serial #35625686

 

On January 1, 1943 my father enlisted in the US Army he was 19 years old.  On January 1, 1945 he headed to Germany and was there until May 8, 1945 and during this time he turned 21 and saw battle.  He served his country proudly and would tell the occasional story about being there.  I am in the process of trying to obtain any medals my dad may have received.  I am so proud of his service and wish he were still here to share this day with.  Daddy I love and miss you very much.

 

My New Valentine

Sunset at Bunch Beach

Sunset at Bunch Beach

I have titled this blog My New Valentine, because that is exactly what it is, I have found a new love; ME!
I normally don’t use this blog for the personal stuff, but it is my blog and I am human and every now and then I need to post my more personal life.  My main New Year’s resolution this year is to live more authentically and that means to be open and transparent in my life.

I have been going through relationship issues and trying to find who I am once again.

I knew for a couple of years  I needed to remove myself from this relationship, however I was in love and wanted to make it work, then something happened which began another year and a half simply because he ‘needed’ me to be there for him. I stood by him, believed in him and I did what I had to do because I loved him and wanted to help (isn’t that what love is about, the good and the bad?).  After this was over I felt even less appreciated and more taken for granted than ever, I felt used.  A few months later once again another life event and I was there to help, some of it labor intensive because I loved him and wanted him to be happy. What I didn’t expect was after he was finished using me, he wanted to end the relationship.  I resisted because he had always said  people aren’t willing to work through their problems, they would prefer to throw them out like the trash and I was willing to work through it, this was all a lie, in fact I realize now most of our relationship was a lie. At that point I figured out some other things were going on as well; a revelation which was a deal breaker for me, as much as I loved him, I deserved better and a lot more respect. I decided I would not tolerate being used, lied to and cheated on any longer.
I refuse to be a victim, and chose to move forward with my life and reclaim the person I had been missing.

Unfortunately the poor choice to spread lies was made in a public forum; must have been the guilt. I took the much higher road and refused to respond; call it maturity.
Considering the hurt and betrayal I felt, I also felt foolish for not seeing it sooner, but love will blind you to the negative, because you don’t want to see it in someone you love. I am not perfect and it takes two to make a relationship, however it’s difficult when only one wants to try.

From this I have become incredibly happy, stress free, healthy and successful. I wish only the best for those who have been in my life. As a friend recently told me, I simply outgrew the relationship, and it was time to move onward and upward. I have healed and moved forward with life. My photography business has increased in ways I would never have imagined, I am still doing the type of photography I truly love and have a passion for, I have a group of friends who have stood by me and encouraged me, God is working through me in ways I could have never imagined and I have improved my life and my outlook and I am no longer in a toxic relationship.
Life is incredible and on this Valentine’s Day I don’t need a relationship to make me feel like I am important, special, or beautiful. I already know I am all of these things and so much more. Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

An Afternoon At the Beach

ImageImageImage

Since today is the first day of the new year, I decided to take a nice long walk on the beach.  It felt good to be in the sunshine and get some much needed Vitamin D.  During my walk I did a lot of thinking and focusing on what I want for this next year.  I went over the lessons I have learned and also took some wonderful bird photos.  I simply love birds, they are all different, each have their own way of doing things and the freedom to fly when they need to.  

Great Lessons I Learned in 2013
I learned I have a lot of really good friends, some I didn’t realize until the rains hit. 
I learned I am resilient and bounce back quickly from adversity
I learned I am talented, creative and artistic and know how to succeed personally and professionally
I Learned that not everyone who says they are your friend is
I learned I am beautiful and strong and have a lot to offer
I learned I control the weather within my life
I learned that the people you love use you, hurt you and let you go
I learned what really matters is living my life authentically and not be afraid to take chances and to stand up for what I believe. 
2014 is going to be the best year ever and I can’t wait to see what the next 364 days is going to produce…..you can bet it won’t be anything I don’t want!

Values

Image

I realize this blog is for my photo meanderings and newly acquired review of bands and artists I photograph, but since it is my blog and I have complete creative license, today we will talk a bit more about me. 

I’ve had a rough couple of months, with some personal issues, however I’ve found out some wonderful things.  I have real friends who care and for once in my life are carrying me instead of me trying to be strong and act as if nothing’s been wrong.  I learned this the hard way from a past experience when I had no one to fall back on, so instead I fell into my self….never a good thing.  It’s not bad to have to lean on others from time to time, but it’s not easy and sometimes it’s very hurtful to the pride to think “I can’t do this alone” , it’s been extremely healing and it’s getting me to where I need to be.  Good people are important in your life, without them, we meander aimlessly and take longer to recover.  I have also found out how important holding a camera is and when there is music involved it’s even more important;  It’s therapy.  Unfortunately, this time of year in SW Florida there isn’t much on the music scene in the way of concerts, however we have had some wonderful festivals which I was able to be a part of photographically. 

I have found myself working in a business alone that was once shared, and honestly even though I miss the camaraderie, I realize how much stronger I am as a photographer alone.  I have to get each shot perfect because I don’t have a back-up.  I also have stepped up to promote  myself and to build and rebuild my reputation, character and my overall business.  It’s not an easy process, but definitely one I am enjoying.  I am discovering things about myself I didn’t know existed and I am stretching myself far beyond what I thought I could, simply because I am not relying on another person to be there.  I also found that I don’t need to respond to negative behaviors; my loyalty, compassion, honor, integrity all speak for it’s self, I have no defense, because there is nothing to defend;  my integrity is in tact. People may talk, but it’s simply idle chatter.  One of my favorite quotes of recent is by Eleanor Roosevelt which is in the photo I have posted. 

I am not perfect nor do I claim to be, I am a woman who loves and will treat others as they have treated me, I love being behind the lens of a camera and am at home in that realm, and I give credit where credit is due.  If it had not been for my former partner in life and business, I know I would not be as far as I have come, I have many times over acknowledged that fact.  I find with each relationship you grow, and expand and sometimes you think you lose…..but do you really?  After all every great oak loses it’s leaves in times of harshness and stress, but what stands is a sturdy trunk, and given the right elements for growth new leaves will appear and the strength of that tree will stand once again to the test of time and the reality of it’s surroundings.  I am that tree and I am returning to my full beautiful glory.  Look out world because this lady is going to take you by storm and by camera! 

As promised the next posting will be camera and music related, Waiting to hear about credentials for the Broadway style rock show, We Will Rock You, featuring the music of Queen. 

Catch me behind the lens,

–Deb

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